You’re going to hear a lot about Tiger Woods not being able to activate his glutes. That’s how Woods explained the back pain he suffered that led to his pulling out of the Farmers Insurance Open on Thursday.
“[My back] just got progressively tighter,” Woods said after withdrawing, referring to a pair of fog delays that postponed his tee time. “It’s frustrating that [my glutes] just can’t stay activated.”
It sounds made up, activating your glutes. But it’s a real thing, and it’s important to an athlete’s strength.
The glutes are central muscles for generating power in the golf swing. They help the hips to flex optimally and the legs to fire with maximum power. They also are key muscles in preventing back pain. If the muscles aren’t well-developed, the lower body can often perform compensating movements in the upper thigh and lower back that lead to injuries.
Woods needs strong gluteal muscles — the biggest muscle group in the body — to protect his back. Last March, Woods has microdiscectomy surgery to relieve pain he had been dealing with for nearly a year. On top of protecting his back, Woods’ glutes are key to creating the torque and generating the leg strength needed to hit the ball as far as he’d like with his new-but-old swing.